continued from History with the “Victim”
[Original case narrative written for investigators]
When Tiffany Lost Her Shit
This period of time is the most cluttered mess in my head only overshadowed by the mess in my head about the couple of years of phone calls from Tiffany all about her other-dimensional take on this period of time.
Lisa had been telling me there was something wrong with Tiffany for years; in the months leading up to the divorce Lisa began telling me Tiffany was insane, after she filed for divorce Lisa was telling anyone that would listen that Tiffany was insane. I was certain Lisa was the one that was crazy and full of shit….but then all of the sudden Tiffany did go crazy, that was the last thing we needed and I figured we were fucked.
The only outside people I trusted at all during all this time during the divorce was: My Lawyer, His Assistant, Nissa Gay, Bill Wolfe, Martin McCoy… Maybe a few others. Even then I didn’t trust them enough to tell them Tiffany had gone crazy.
I believed nothing anyone outside could do about it that wouldn’t make it worse. I had by this time a very deep mistrust of the mental health and medical professions because of what I had seen for years in AA and lived first hand with Lisa.
The beginning of that nightmare is clear.
Tiffany had locked herself in the closet some time earlier in the day, that was strange, but not all that strange, she had done this before, only this time she had broken her previous teen age closet dwelling endurance record.
It was evening and I was sitting in the garage at the table smoking and listening to cassette tapes (telephone recordings). When Tiffany came out of the house, into the garage and sat down in the chair across from me at the small table, I turned off the tape and she sat in silence for a long time (I think she had even put her head down on the table). After quite a long time she sat up and started talking, talking very fast about her mother, Evan and Zoë, everything that was happening… So much so fast I couldn’t even follow, I just sat and let her talk until she was done. I don’t think I even said anything and then she said “Maybe I need my medication”. I think I said “huh?” and asked her to “say that again”.
She then explained that her mother had been giving her medication and showed me where it was in the kitchen broom closet up top in a box way in the back, I retrieved the box and took it out to the garage putting it on the table, she sat across from me as I went through all these pill bottles digging out ones with her name on them asking her which ones her mom was giving her, I had to shake pills out to see if she recognized which ones but she could not positively identify what her mother had been giving her so I put them all back in the bottles and the box. After a while I sent her in the house and maybe told her to go to bed… From here the sequence of each event is not clear in my head at all.
I think it was later that same evening I walked back in the house from the garage and Tiffany was in the living room standing about a foot away from the wall next to the entryway hall… She was talking to the wall. I couldn’t get her attention at first and I think I grabbed her shoulder and she startled and was like “What?” and I asked her what was up and she said “nothing”. She seemed normal then and I told her to go crash because it was late.
I think it was later that same evening that I met her in the hallway that led to the back of the house and the bedrooms (I think I was headed from my bedroom to the living room) Tiffany was standing in the hall wearing nothing but either pajama bottoms or maybe it was just panties, when I asked her what she was doing (At first I think I was under the impression that she was on her way to or back from the bathroom or something) but she pretty much just stared wide eyed and her response didn’t make any sense, I know I grabbed this T-Shirt I assumed she was sleeping in because it was on her bed stepped back into the hall, held it up between us and told her to put it on… She was not responding, I said “hey do you know what this is?” or something like “hey see what you’re missing here?” She said “That’s a flag” (I was like WTF?) and I went to put it over her head myself and she flipped out. I think I managed to get her in it but I know I physically stuck her in her room. I think she still had a bedroom door because it was later I kicked it off the hinges but I didn’t shut her in. I think I just turned off the light after she had lain down for a while.
I think that was all that happened and I think that was the first night she was showing signs of being crazy… I know I was already wiped out the first night.
The next day I know I confronted and interrogated her about it. The thought had not occurred to me to me at that point that she could have taken something from that box, I was under the assumption that she had simply lost it a little due to the stress from all the bad craziness that had gone on for so long. We were in the garage for this discussion and that was when she came up with the explanation that she had been “sleepwalking” and that was why it happened and why she could not remember it. At least a few times during the day she began to act oddly, like she was in and out momentarily.
I think it was that second night that all hell broke loose and tiffany tried to leave the house at like 2 am or whatever in order to walk to Camarillo and retrieve her brother and sister, I had to head her off several times and there was a physical confrontation, she went to blows and I had to restrain her a couple of times at least. In between that she acted like she was talking to people that weren’t there then stood or sat staring and would try to get out of the house again. Might have been that night she started screaming until she lost her voice too. I didn’t sleep (might have been the second day I didn’t sleep).
I think it was later this day I called the doctors office and asked about the possible reactions and or withdrawal symptoms from the drugs that were in that box. There was one I was told that could (as in almost never happen “could”) have withdrawals a little bit like what was going on with Tiffany. I did not tell them who I was calling about; I assumed they would assume it was about Lisa. I gave Tiffany a ½ dose of that medication and another one to see if that would settle it (They were ones with her name on the bottle).
She was lucid when I gave her these and again I had talked to her about what was going on, she denied any memory and denied any knowledge of what was wrong other than saying “I guess I was sleep walking” several times during the day she would flip out to one degree or another and minutes later when questioned “Oh was I sleep walking?”.
I think it was the next day but IDK, could have been the same day I called (…. Anderson? Not Edison…) and spoke to him about what was going on at length I explained everything I could including the fact that I could not let it out that she was behaving this way because it would lend credence to what Lisa had been telling everyone and that would bring everything Tiffany had said in and out of court about what her mother was doing into question. During this conversation he had me go through all of the medications in the box that Tiffany had directed me to. And when I got to this one big bottle (Jar) he told me that that particular drug was exactly what would be used to treat her symptoms inferring that “That was her medication” she was talking about and that she probably needed that. I was not convinced, the bottle was sealed and there was no indication of prescription at all. He eventually talked me into giving her a low dose explaining the side effects were minimal and if I didn’t do something I would need an antipsychotic. He also explained that giving her this medication was a felony and that he would deny even knowing who I was if I got caught.
I gave Tiffany ½ of the dose he recommended I give her, I explained to her that what I was doing was a felony and if anyone found out I would end up in jail and she and her brother and sister would end up with their mom. She did not want to take them and insisted that was not the medication her mom was giving her.
That night was not any better than the night before. She was intermittently psychotic or what have you and then she would seem lucid blaming her episodes and lack of memory on “sleep walking”. I think I remember dumping a container full of cold water on her when she was acting catatonic (I think it was this evening that happened). She was also screaming at me “If you won’t go get Even and Zoë I will” and again bolt for the door. At one point I decided that I was going to die if I did not sleep.
I had a pair of handcuffs… I put her in bed and cuffed her ankles… She wasn’t happy about that at all.
Later that night I got up and she was not in bed but on the couch, ankles cuffed and half undressed (I was thinking she had tried to change her clothes but couldn’t get past the cuffs) I got her up got her night clothes straitened out and when asked WTF? She said, of course, “Sleep Walking”… I put her back in bed ankles cuffed and I slept on the couch because it was kind of in-between the bedrooms and the way out the door in case I needed to head her off.
I called … (Shit…) and told him what had happened, giving him the whole rundown again and when I told him how much I had actually given her he insisted that he had told me to use a tiny dose and what I had done was give her too little to do anything.
I spent a lot of time talking to Tiffany that day about what was happening what she was doing and really grilled her As usual we were in the garage and she insisted that she had no recollection of anything I described her doing and kept calling it “sleep walking”… I think it was this day that she did say she had a dream that she had “given me a rainbow” and she explained that that was when a woman left lipstick on a guys dick (somehow I think it was in a prior conversation during this but I’m thinking it was all a shorter period of time than it seemed in my memory). I became very concerned with all of this as well as the suspicion that something had happened to her while I was at work or something in the past, as usual she denied anything beyond what she had already told me went on at home, she continued to call her behavior and not being able to recall it “Sleep walking”.
That day I gave her the dose I was told I should give her (I think it was 2 tablets twice a day but I’ll be dammed if I remember that or even what the name of the drug was) Again I cuffed her ankles that night and she wasn’t happy about that at all this time, I insisted explaining that I couldn’t have her loosing her shit and taking off in the middle of the night, I think we talked some I was still trying to get her to explain, still trying to figure out what was wrong with her.
We discussed the possibility that Tiffany was schizophrenic ( I didn’t even want to think about that) and I think it was Seroquel (Quetiapine) I’m pretty sure they were white round tablets and that would indicate they were 50 mg tablets (from what I see on the Internet now). Another Thing Jennifer just posed this question as I’m sitting here: Could Tiffany have been the one that stashed that box? Collected what Lisa had stashed around? Hmm…
That night she was as normal as Tiffany gets and from then on, I continued to give her the medication. There were a couple of times she acted pretty strange for very brief moments like one time at church maybe that was even in that first week.
I continued to give her the meds and she argued about taking it just about every time… Just about every time I gave her the pills to prevent her “sleep walking” and re iterated the whole thing about keeping quiet about it because it was a crime and nobody would be okay with it, both the fact that I was giving her a drug without a prescription and the fact she needed a drug because he mom was already telling the world she was crazy.
In a short time I began to decrease the dose because I was not okay myself with giving anyone let alone my kid psychotropic drugs, I watched her closely and eventually like a month later I was not giving them to her any more.
I attributed her period of “loosing her shit” to all the built up stress cause by her mother’s insanity and drug use and possibly coming off of something her mother had been giving her (I liked that theory it made sense to me and appealed to me belief concerning drugs).
I’ve always felt very guilty about medicating her during that time, I felt like a hypocrite and I felt like I had betrayed her trust, set a bad example, precedent and as time went on I thought I may have even caused her psyche more damage with the drugs.
I think this time came up as the subject of discussions I had with Tiffany every now and again but I don’t recall any in particular but the term “Sleepwalking” between Tiffany and I meaning her behavior and claims of not remembering them stuck.
When I recounted events of this period of time to anyone else I condensed it only covering her locking herself in the closet and having a bit of a breakdown that I attributed to drug withdrawals because Lisa had her unnecessarily medicated.
So… Focusing only on Tiffany after the major episode had subsided:
Tiffany was very opposed to taking the medication I was giving her but I insisted, this upset her and really for the first time ever I can remember we had arguments, I did not give an inch but I also did not try to defend it to her because her points were by my own standard more valid than my point. She saw Lisa’s downward spiral and she knew as well as anyone that pills just like the ones I was giving her were instrumental in that horror story. It was also damn hard because I was even telling her on top of it all that what I was doing was not just against everything that made sense it was also against the law and if it got out that I was making her take them it would be the exact same disaster we had been fighting to avoid.
I even pulled the “Well if you could just explain what really happened, I can’t remember? sleepwalking? My Ass, I wouldn’t have to drug you” It was not good at all because Tiffany had always been such a good and “obedient” kid and never any trouble it was not hard at all for me to feel extra guilty about it.
This coupled with many of the decisions to involve her in too much hurt her and I’m sure was seen by her as a huge betrayal of everything “we stood for”. And I don’t which one of us felt the stab of that deeper. But I was hell bent on not having her showing any signs of being instable whatever the cost. When I did take her off of them she was definitely relived and once I saw that she was not going to flip out I was relived as well… And I, the giant fucking hypocrite, really wanted to forget all about it…. Yeah… Anyway.
Tiffany was in charge when the little ones were there whether I liked it or not, the routine of it seemed to help her feel okay, and when they weren’t there I let her do whatever and never worried that she would get into trouble because “Tiffany was never any trouble”. She had taken to checking up on me more than checking in with me and I let her because it seemed to give her a sense of being in some control over an otherwise out of control situation. She constantly worried about her brother and sister (and so did I).
Tiffany was also a touch paranoid (but me having a problem with that would be pot calling the kettle black) I just tried not to let it get out of hand and tried to hide my own.
Tiffany spent a lot of time with Nissa Gay I was very grateful for that and saw it as double blessing, it gave me some piece of mind that there was a good female roll model she could talk to about things and it gave me some freedom to take care of the business of what was turning into a huge fucking mess of a divorce.
Tiffany really looked up to Nissa and it was clear in short order that she was hopeful that her and I would become an “item”. I liked Nissa a lot, and she was attractive etc but a romantic relationship in the state my life was in seemed like a damn mean thing to do to Nissa. I don’t know really how Nissa felt about it and I did everything possible not to find out without hurting her or Tiffany’s feelings. It clearly was sticky though.
Tiffany also spent a lot of time with her contemporaries as well, I met some of them here and there, Tiffany would ask me if she could go places with whomever and I had no objections because Tiffany just wasn’t any trouble.
The only apparent trouble with Tiffany during this time came (apparently) from the outside, the crazy calls and texts raged on both to my phone and hers, many of them were pretty outrageous and some of them that were sent to Tiffany were sexually explicit, both her and I reported them to police I was of the firm belief they originated with Lisa and because of this I was not terribly concerned of any real danger however the shit wasn’t good and I went to great pains to keep a phone in Tiffany’s hand and keep the number between us, this was one thing that kept me paranoid and very confused and also seemed to take a toll on Tiffany’s mental health.
It did cross my mind that Tiffany could have had something to do with it but I believed that was far fetched at best and because of a few things that finally occurred I discarded that possibility all together. It did cross my mind that Tiffany could be responsible for it even if she wasn’t behind it she could have been giving the number away. But I thought I did a good job of eliminating that as a possibility as well.
One day (think it was before Lisa was kicked out and then Tiffany lost it) Tiffany and I were standing in the kitchen, she would receive a text and then I received a text, this went back and forth for a while… We sat our phones side by side on the counter while this was happening… Any thought I had that she was behind these texts in any way was dispelled
So that left me with belief that somehow someone had resources and an “in” that defied the notion it wasn’t anything to worry about. This situation was a big problem even if it wasn’t a physical threat to Tiffany (or me) it was very effective terrorism… Not the messages but the fact they could not be stopped or explained at all.
Tiffany became obsessed with it (And I was somewhat as well) one theory that came up in the past was that it was David Nowlin the man that Lisa had an affair with starting in 2000 Tiffany told me on several occasions during this time that she kept seeing him around and she came to firmly believe he was connected and from what she was saying it seemed like a strong possibility. I didn’t know what to make of it still other than it was not kosher and something needed to be done about it but the police were no help… From my perspective we wound up just getting used to it and then it would taper off until the next bout.
I think this was when she and Greg became a couple, I didn’t discourage it and I didn’t feel any need to lay down any rules or give warnings. Greg was a good kid and I liked him… Tiffany was a good kid and nobodies fool.
Tiffany did get into shit with me a few times but they were minor (So minor I have no idea what they were). She was always so visibly ashamed of any wrong she ever did it never crossed my mind that she needed anything more than a talk and looking back the talks consisted of her proactively presenting me with how she was going to correct herself and how sorry she was for screwing up.
However, and this is less clear in my mind and I’m not even sure it was a factor until after we moved: If Tiffany was ever chastised for making a mistake or her integrity was brought into question she would go ballistic. I can only clearly remember one instance at this time (many more latter) of this happening:
I overheard her telling Evan and Zoe to call her mom instead of Tiffany. I came in to the kitchen and walked her straight through to the garage and asked her what the hell she was doing. She blew up (scared me… visions of her recent mental breakdown) but it stopped almost as fast as it came on.
Life had settled into a pretty simple routine, when the little ones were home we were both there. I did leave them in her care very often though… Honestly, I was only there to make sure everyone ate and then make sure I was there to get them to school. And she cleaned house, I tried to stop her from worrying about cleaning the house and she’d brush me off… Hell she did that with the care of Evan and Zoe as well “Dad, you’re doing it wrong, get out of here”.
On the days the little ones weren’t there Tiffany was free to do whatever she wished and I was mostly gone as well… And again I never worried about her at all she took care of herself, went to bed early as far as I knew and always made it to school.
Tiffany was very self sufficient, and I never worried about it mostly because she was so self regulating. I never had to tell her to check in because she was always calling me to check up on me… Really… It was funny as hell. She would get on my case for staying out late and wanted to know exactly where I was, who I was with and what I was doing.
I had stopped going to work by December of ’03 opting to go surfing in the mornings instead… I had to be out of the water early and by my phone though because the battle in and out of court was raging insane and I had to be where my lawyer could get in touch with me every minute of every weekday from 8am to 5pm. I wasn’t worried though because I had more than enough cash to carry us for at least a year and once it was decided the home was to be sold (whether I liked it or not) I stopped paying the mortgage and told the real estate agent to figure out a way to roll it in (Honestly, I think I told him don’t press me on it or I’ll just burn the house down).
There was an incident when Tiffany told me something, something that Zoë told her or something she hard I’m not even sure what she said that led me to believe that someone had molested Zoë when they were at Lisa’s apartment (About ½ mile from the house). I went ballistic (on the inside) and I calmly loaded my Berretta 96C .40 and told Tiffany that no matter what happened someone would take care of them… She asked me what I was doing; I told her I was going to go kill Lisa. Tiffany freaked, panicked then started to tell me I must have misunderstood what she meant and that I had clearly misunderstood her. She all but admitted at one point that she made it all up. We had a very long talk about it and I was pretty damn mad at her. –
Tiffany would call me often and sometime just show up where she knew I would be at certain times of day (especially when I would be at Latte 101); I guess she knew my routine better than I did. I would ask her what she needed and she would tell me “I’m just checking up on you Dad” and I’d flip her off… She would flip me off in return… This sort of became our greeting (And I really thought I was a cool dad).
I knew the owner of latte 101 and some evenings when the little ones were at home I would take them and Tiffany there for dinner (sandwiches)… Most of the time I brought home Del Taco (it cost about $7 to feed all of them more than they could eat and it wasn’t all that bad for fast food. Tiffany would give me a ration of shit for it and sometimes she would cook something instead.
One night that it was just her and I, I took Tiffany out to Wood Ranch and made a point of telling her thanks for being there (Pretty much the only time I ever did anything like that). I did tell her on occasion that I’d be screwed without her and let her know I appreciated her for all the help she was.
Tiffany had also taken me at me word when I said you can tell me anything… The stuff that came out of that kid’s mouth was stuff I’d have NEVER told my parents… But none of it was all that bad… I was a rotten teenager and in comparison this kid was an angel so I felt rather proud of the fact my daughter was so forthcoming.
I had a bout of pneumonia in April of ’04 (this has been a recurring theme in my life since my teens) and I was damn sick for several days could have been as many as 5 days I had been to the hospital and was at home (I think the custody thing with the little ones even was affected because I know I had spoken with my lawyers assistant and she had even arrange me getting to the hospital).
Tiffany took care of me, I was in and out but she would wake me up to take antibiotics and made me eat. I’m sure she did this spontaneously because I hadn’t even seen her around the day I went to the hospital and then I was out of it. In my mind, she was just that kind of kid and I appreciated it. Shortly after this:
I had known Jennifer for maybe a month or two but our friendship was contained to only talking (rather deep discussions) at Latte 101 where she worked until… Hmm… May 2nd? of ’04 when her and I went on a drive all the hell out to Santa Monica… Of course during that drive I got a call from Tiffany to find out where the hell I was and who I was with (She was not happy as I recall that I was with a woman she did not know… I think it may have been that it wasn’t Nissa Gay I was with that had her snippy).
That night I brought Jennifer home with me, she needed a place to crash; the reason for the drive was she didn’t want to go home because of roommate trouble. I had no intentions of becoming romantically involved with her at the time and I figured she would just crash on the couch for the night. (Although I enjoyed her company more than a lot).
I had to kick Tiffany out of my bedroom and this was a very common occurrence especially if I had been out late, her excuse was that that was where the TV and DVD player was and I pretty much bought that (even though there was a Bigger TV and VCR in the living room). I didn’t end up sleeping much that night because Jenn and I couldn’t ever stop talking.
I had to take Tiffany to therapy the next morning and left Jennifer at my home, Tiffany relentlessly interrogated me about Jennifer on the way… I told her everything I knew… She’s just this friend of mine that works at the coffee house and she needed a place to crash (that was true for at least a few more days).
Jennifer and I hung out and talked for days straight (my usual schedule was blown by this and would never return). Still Jennifer was brand new to my life and Tiffany didn’t know her at all other than she had spent an evening on the couch… Tiffany was really autonomous and I think that week she had told me she would be staying with a friend but would get to school fine.
So… Tiffany walked into the garage (pretty much where I lived) and she opened the door of the car and sat in it across from where Jennifer and I were sitting. And popped off with (I’m paraphrasing here because I was in shock):
“Dad I’m not a virgin anymore, Greg and I had sex last night”… Yep I’d asked for it, be straight up with me and I’ll be straight up with you… That was Tiffany… I explained as best I could to Jennifer about Tiffany’s and my “tell the truth” pact and shrugged.
Jennifer’s and my friendship changed very suddenly and a romantic relationship escalated on a very steep curve. We ran out of talk one night and in the couple of minutes were weren’t saying anything one of the two of us decided it would be a good idea to kiss… That was it… Not only were we attached at the hip we were in an extricable state of locked together.
Zoe latched onto Jenn immediately, Evan… Not so much. I was a little worried how Tiffany was reacting to my… Budding is the wrong word here… More like a “Free fall Directly to Terminal Velocity” relationship. Tiffany said she really liked Jenn but even then I could see that Tiffany was disappointed in our relationship. Tiffany Really liked Nissa Gay and in the recent past there she had managed a few situations to drive us together. Tiffany did try to speak her piece a few times on the subject but I deflected.
Jennifer was not “Living” at Neath street but she never really left (she was gone half of one day May 5th) about three days I think after she spent the first night on the couch.
I clearly remember sitting Tiffany down after we moved out of Neath and explaining to her that not only were Jennifer and I were “together” I was very much in love with Jennifer. I even told her I knew how totally insane that was because we had only been together such a short time (really this started in the beginning of May and it wasn’t but just a few weeks that we moved from Neath to the Apartment on Telephone… It was insane). Tiffany said very little during this discussion.
We all moved into the Telephone Rd. Apartment on Tiffany’s 15th birthday May 22 ’04. She was pissed about that but I was too busy to really gauge how pissed but it didn’t seem like she didn’t understand the move date was pretty much out of everyone’s control.
Tiffany was very cordial with Jennifer and from what I saw she followed my lead and jumped into the new situation with both feet. However this was when I had the first inklings that something was actually amiss with Tiffany.
On of the very first things Jennifer and I did was to take steps to lighten Tiffany’s load, I knew this was going to be a struggle because it was clear that Tiffany was entrenched in her roll as Zoe and Evan’s “Protector” and it was not going to be easy for her to just step down from that. And it was a struggle, Tiffany and Jennifer did things differently and well… There was some friction… I figured everyone would adjust.
At one point Tiffany cracked up over it all but what came out surprised me, her words: “Jennifer is such a wonderful mother to Evan and Zoe and Jennifer really cared and she was so sad because she (Tiffany) had never had that in her entire life from her own mother”. It didn’t strike me that it was a selfish statement at all at the time… It just struck me as honest grief over a fucked up childhood. I realized, actually it dawned on me right then Tiffany was in a really strange spot. The custody battle for Evan and Zoe raged on but Tiffany was in my full physical custody. Ever since the divorce hit the fact that I was not her natural father had been repeatedly rubbed in her face. And now here she was with a not even one “natural” parent.
I had one very serious conversation with Tiffany someplace in here and I remember both her and I cried. I told Tiffany that I had never thought of her as a “step” daughter (I resented the term being applied to Tiffany in all of the divorce proceedings and the term never entered my own vocabulary until sometime after 2009) and that she was my kid end of story (funny that a very bent version of this showed up in the interview with Vasquez) I told Tiffany that when Zoe was born I already understood something about being a father and that it had nothing to do with blood relations… I can’t remember all of what I said but it had to do with making the decision to accept responsibility and I re told the story of the day she was asked by the little girl in the video shop if I was her dad. I told Tiffany that I loved her no less than I did Even and Zoe and that I was sorry I never expressed it clearly enough that she didn’t have to question it.
I gave Tiffany all the same freedoms she had when the little kids were not home before Jennifer on a 24/7 basis. And of course (as far as I knew) the kid wasn’t a problem. She was given a few chores to do (only vacuum the house and take out the trash).
The continuing custody battle of Zoe and Evan continued to rage on and then:
Well… (I’d have to look into the divorce papers and documents to sort this more but I’m sure it will never be clear what actually happened when) Shortly after we moved I came to find out that Tiffany had stolen a car and crashed it.
I know I heard three different stories from Tiffany and I think they were in this order:
1) This was a while before we moved to the apartment, I think even before I had met Jennifer. “Dad, I was in a minor car accident with a friend, no biggie but it was kind of scary, I won’t be riding with him again.”
When this first came up it was before I met Jennifer. I did “ground” Tiffany but more to keep here “off the street and out of view” because I thought the owner of the car (Michelle Bennett) was crazy and she was plugged into AA… I was paranoid that the incident would get back to Lisa. I called it “house arrest” at this time… It was more just to give whatever happened time to either develop or fade away than to punish Tiffany.
2) Sometime later “Dad remember that Minor Car Accident? Well, it wasn’t So and So that was driving I didn’t know this, but well, he didn’t have permission to be driving So and So’s car and now he’s saying I was driving”.
2a) The Mother of So and So called me and said Tiffany stole and crashed her son’s car… I told her I heard a different story, Tiffany wanted to speak to her, I handed Tiffany the phone.
There was some kind of twist to the story that I can’t quite remember how it all went but it was definitely convoluted as all hell. My immediate reaction was to cover it up, this just couldn’t happen in the middle of what all else was going on.
I found out finally from the kid’s mother Michelle Bennett that she got this crazy run around about what had happened to the car and she had already extracted this information from everyone involved and that they had all confessed including Tiffany.
“Bullshit Tiffany, what the fuck really happened?”
(Tiffany got that look on her face you see quite clearly in the video with Vasquez… That look she had when she looked straight into the camera above the door)
3) “I told So and So’s I needed the keys to his car to get something I had left behind while we were at church, then What’s his name and I took the car. I was driving and we crashed it over the curb. So and So and What’s his name covered for me but then it got out.”
My mind was blown; I could not wrap my head around Tiffany having done something like this.
Wasn’t long after that Tiffany came home in the evening after being out with friends, she made a B-line for the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of “that look” and then I knew exactly what it was about because I could smell the alcohol (you can’t crack a bottle 10 yards away from me without me smelling it).
I blew up, and to the very best of my knowledge this was the only time I’d ever blown up on Tiffany … I blew up so bad it scared me. I knocked her to the floor and had her by the throat before I even knew that was what I was going to do and I was screaming at her about the fact that Evan and Zoe’s safety was at stake and her fucking up wasn’t just her life she was gambling.
I let her up (before she turned blue) and I walked out of the house I think. I calmed down at some point. I felt terrible for loosing it so badly I had almost choked the kid out.
I went to tell her I was so sorry I lost it like that and she was over the top apologetic I took at least a day to consider it and I grounded her for the duration of the summer.
Oh, the car and Michelle Bennett? Well she was pissed; she sent a letter to my lawyer as well as Lisa’s lawyer and this prompted another psychological evaluation to be ordered… Cost a few grand for that and 2 or 3 days worth of court and probably prolonged Lisa’s continuing custody of Evan and Zoe.
I know I let Tiffany off the hook early, she had written me a letter (I still have it) during her “house arrest” and she was a model prisoner.
This all had a profound effect on my relationship with Tiffany, aside from the havoc it caused it was the first time I ever began to see her as anything other than a “what you see is what you get all around trustworthy kid” I was still cutting her slack because yeah, she had been through a lot and hell I was way worse but her deceptions blew my mind.
Tiffany had also had problems in school with her grades I had attributed this to the insanity we had just escaped. When the school year got on she took it on herself to get reports from her teachers and she diligently handed these over to me to show me she was taking care of it. Again I cut her loose on the theory she had learned her lesson and all I really demanded of Tiffany was to hit school hard, don’t get into trouble and let us know what she was up to. She began to excel in school and appeared to all intent purposes to be that perfect kid I’d always admired.
Jennifer and I were still attached at the hip even more so, I don’t think we were ever out of each other’s site, I’d bet it looked sick to anyone on the outside, she followed me to work and the brief period she worked I followed her to work. We spent every minute together.
Jennifer and I decided to get married.
I told Tiffany this sitting in front of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf… A conversation to remember… That’s for sure… But I only recall the bulleted highlights… “It’s too soon, Jennifer is immature, I know you better than anyone and she’s not right for you, you wont be happy”
I thought she would be happy, whatever it ended with me saying “Sorry Tiffany you have no say in it, I was telling not asking you”.
Best I can tell Tiffany dropped her negative position and she was involved to some degree in the wedding plans. We were married, everyone seemed very happy. Jennifer and I were now, not only attached at the hip, but we had matching rings too.
I’m not sure how long after this it took but Tiffany and Jennifer began to bang heads, at first it was minor.
Tiffany and I spent very little time together but if I was asked I’d have said we were close, perhaps that was only and “Ideal” I held on to but there were always things to point to our deep connection. An Example:
Tiffany would often assist me when I’d shoot a wedding, she had very little experience with photography but most of the work was just “here hang on to this” or “grab that”. It didn’t take very long to notice this because it was absolutely uncanny.
I would turn to ask her to grab me a specific lens I was going to need and she would already have that very specific (one of a dozen) lens in here hand.
There would be an obstruction to a shot I needed to get (someone standing here or there) Tiffany would be moving that obstruction before I would even look up to tell her. This is more remarkable than most people will understand because from where she would be and where I was the view was in parallaxes… How would she know what I was trying to see through?
I came to believe she could read my mind… Really. And she was extremely effective and efficient as my assistant and I always told her as much.
On an aside to this: Once she had made a mistake, in changing the batteries in a flash unit, it was actually my fault and I told her so (after I freaked out in the moment because the flash was lagging and I didn’t know why) I explained to her that there were more batteries in the system that required changing that she had missed some, I also told her it was my fault for assuming she knew about the other batteries.
She would NOT LET THIS GO she was so mad at me for snapping at her in the moment I think I heard about this once a week for the next several years…
Things like this had piled up as well; she began the habit of pointing out everyone’s mistakes and getting (more than) defensive if she was ever thought to have made any kind of mistake. I took it as “Fucking Teenagers” but it started to get out of hand. She started to become hostile if she even thought she was being accused of doing something wrong.
And going back to before this is the reason I fucking couldn’t stand to take her driving before she got her license, trying to tell her something like she was setting up her turns wrong was courting disaster… She ragged on me to take her to drive and I avoided it like plague, I think I only drove with her 4 or 5 times max and told her she would just have to find someone else.
I think it was after Molly (surprise!) was born that Tiffany and Jennifer’s relationship began to really debase. This caused me more stress than I was willing or able to handle… Echoes from the past, Tiffany telling me (often calling me at work) how rotten Jennifer was treating her and Evan and Zoe and Jennifer telling me Tiffany was being a nightmare.
One very memorable incident Tiffany was sitting at the table and called her something like “A Fucking Bitch”… It wasn’t just the words it was the tone and look on her face, she looked and sounded like Lisa.
It didn’t get any uglier that night because I simply told Tiffany that if she EVER popped off like that again I would kick her ass and then kick her out of the hose and she could move in with her mother (Tiffany to the best of my knowledge hated no human being on this earth than her mother and had not spoken to her in years).
Tiffany broke up with Greg somewhere in here and she told me it was because he was roughing her up… I got rather angry; somehow she backpedalled from this to get me to cool off.
Tiffany started to cycle through boyfriends rather quickly and I know we discussed it often, she would bring the situation to me from enthralling start to things are going wrong to he’s being a bastard… A few times through this I had a diagnosis… Tiffany was a touch of a Borderline… Well fuck… It’s common enough and I should have seen it coming after all the years of insanity she lived through.
At some point I know there was some kind of altercation that led me to actually kick Tiffany out briefly. This didn’t seem a big deal because as far as I could tell she was rarely at home anyway, she was a free agent and I allowed it because she got excellent grades in school, no trouble she got in ever came back to me, she had a job and a fuckton of friends… It blew over… Tiffany was becoming a real pain in the ass teenager though.
Eventually Tiffany and Jennifer went to blows … No shit. (Jennifer knows the exact date).
I got the first report of the story over the phone from Tiffany… Maybe it was in person… I asked Jennifer if she had actually hit Tiffany and she said yes. This was all I knew and at first I came down on Jennifer. Jennifer explained more and I started to get a better picture of what had actually happened. Still I told Jennifer hitting was totally not okay with me under any circumstances. I figured I’d sort it out after everyone cooled down but by the time I got home from work Jennifer had packed up and split.
Tiffany was… What the Fuck? Fuck she was elated and chattering about pressing charges against Jennifer like it was the neatest thing ever.
Up to this point I had put up with a lot out of Tiffany, I cut her a lot of slack and she had hung herself a few times, Tiffany and I had begun fighting as well, but I put up with it because I felt I owed her somehow because she had been such a good kid and she had lived through so much shit… But this shattered my barrier of tolerance and control.
I told Tiffany this: “Tiffany pack your shit right now and get the fuck out of my home”. She did not argue but she got that “Look” and I told her again to go and not to come back because she was “done living here”. She never came home after that except I guess Jennifer told me she was there when she got her wisdom teeth taken out. Jennifer had arranged the surgery and whatever I don’t know.
I know that Tiffany became apologetic but I was firm that she needed to make her own way and I’m sure I told her I loved her and she was my kid but she was 18 and needed to figure it out from there on.
My and Tiffany’s relationship was always a disaster of sorts, her life was a disaster when I first ever saw her and the time we were entangled life all of life was a recurring disaster. I was in the position (put myself there) as her savior and I tried to be the one thing she could count on in a disaster. The times we were actually “close” at all were in the middle of some mayhem. When things were calm I guess she would have thought I ignored her… I thought she was self contained and needed no protection when things were calm and figured she was happy to be disaster free and could do what she wanted.
One of the reasons I missed connecting Tiffany to a lot of the bizarre happenings in the past(And for a brief time Jennifer got some seemingly unrelated fucked up text messages that I can easily now see Tiffany could have been behind it), or never caught her in what I now see as psychopathic behavior is this:
I’m a lousy parent…The only way that kid could get my attention or make an emotional connection to me was to become involved in or the focus of a crisis… Since then that hasn’t change much (ask Zoe… I know I will the second I get the chance this coming Wednesday). I’m a better parent than I was, then (It’s much easier to be a better person with Jennifer around in place of crazy lady) but I’m still failing miserably.
But still, I was led down the garden path by my psycho kid…
After she left I was “the one and only person she could trust, her only sane (ha-ha) parent she could talk to for advice”.
Tiffany continued to call me after I kicked her out (and this only stopped for a period of 3 or 4 months in early 2011 I guess it was unfortunately temporarily after I had “disowned her”).
Shortly after Tiffany moved out she had a shit fit because I didn’t call her to see how she was doing, I told her to give me a break Tiffany, I have a full time job, four kids and you are going to read me the riot act because I don’t ever call?
Yeah, Tiffany called me and it seemed like she ran every possible thing by me and ask for my advice. And as always Tiffany was never one to limit what she would let me in on. I was apprized of gritty details I didn’t want to hear but I listened and gave her the best opinions and advise I had… Still, I was Tiffany’s dad and I was Tiffany’s only parent and not only that out side of everything else Tiffany and I lived side by side through the nightmare that was her mother.
If I had been asked I’d have said Tiffany and I were close, and despite her developing nightmare of a personality I loved her, and she was at the core a good kid.
She moved to Sacramento in order to attend school up there, she was going to stay with my brother and his wife. I thought that was a good idea, school was a good thing and the chance to get away and out (sort of on her own). As always Tiffany continued to call at lest every week or two.
I can’t remember how long it was after she moved to Sacramento but her calls started to become disconcerting, she was calling me with boyfriend problems and it was always the same situation in the same order and the same problem and the only thing that changed was the guys name… This was not new at all but what was new was she started calling me drunk or stoned at times.
After she quit school up there her and I started to fight in-between her couch surfing, too stoned to make sense, I’m in trouble and other varied life disaster calls.
The rest of this story?
Picking up where I left off in The More Complete and Revised History… The overlap is more accurate here because that last bunch of pages was finished at about 6am after writing for hours on no sleep…
History of Tiffany Continued, 2007 On
My relationship with Tiffany didn’t change all that much after I threw her out of the house, and really I think it improved there for a little bit, she wasn’t around to complain about random things at home and to fight with Jennifer. Tiffany called me most days as she always had and dropped by the shop often (I remember changing the oil in her little pick-up truck once then)
She had moved in with a friend Trish (???) in Ventura, she told me she got a horse, she told me she was going to study to become something (some nutty thing she was always out to become… Parole officer, Marine… all kinds of stuff I don’t remember).
She would call just to say Hi, we would talk, nothing remarkable until one day she called me madder than hell because I didn’t call her… Really mad, I think I explained that I was working like hell because the economy was going to shit, there was a baby and damn there’s only one of me and I think I got the point across and she calmed down.
I also remember having to fix her computer for her at least once shortly after she moved and she called several times about problems with her notebook, I remember this because I had the feeling she was blowing it up intentionally.
It was during this time, after she moved out and before she moved up to Sacramento, I think was when the serial boyfriend problems became glaringly apparent were a symptom of a much deeper problem… Borderline Personality Disorder was what I was thinking.
She had always been very forthcoming (too fucking blunt) about what was going on in her life with me, I was already past being shocked by pretty much anything she said and being in my mind and hers I believed because she told me so “The only person she had to talk to, she didn’t have a mom so I was it”.
We had more than just a few long deep discussions about how she kept falling for the same kind of guy (ever since Greg) and it was always turning out the same way. I even expressed that I though girls found someone like their dad and these guys as far as she was telling me were way off that mark. I also floated the idea that maybe it wasn’t them that was the problem at all anyway it was here that kept going through this very same relationship cycle. I’m positive I told her by this point “Hey, take a year off from being in a relationship and figure out who you are first”.
She called one day and asked me what I thought about her moving up to Sacramento and staying with my brother in order to go to school up there (citing some other thing she wanted to become). I told her that I thought that was a brilliant idea.
Shortly after this my brother called and floated the idea as well and wanted to know if I thought it was a good idea, seemed almost like both him and her were asking my permission and I think I told him and Tiffany “hey she’s 18 and it’s her life” I’m also sure I warned my brother that she could be kind of a pain in the ass.
I don’t remember much about the event of her moving up there but she did continue to call me all the time and it wasn’t very long before I started hearing about her problems again and her asking for my advice etc.
I think she called me about needing a new car because her truck was falling apart in here someplace… But that might have been before she left or later on.
There were two disconcerting phone calls from Tiffany I remember that happened before Jennifer and I moved to the new apartment.
One call was very late at night and Tiffany was weepy and obviously very drunk… So Drunk in fact I could not understand her, I was very concerned and tried to figure out if she was someplace safe to sleep it off.
Another call (and I’m reasonably sure we hadn’t moved yet) Tiffany called in extreme panic and it took a long time to sort out what she was talking about but the story I got went:
Her and Camille had been at a pot farm and it was raided by DEA… With machineguns… Her and Camille got cuffed but not Tiffany was not actually arrested… And something about needing money to bail Camille (or someone) out. At some point during this particular conversation Tiffany flipped out on me because I “didn’t care”. I know that I asked her if she wanted me to call Stephanie and Dave (Camille’s parents) but she said no or whatever.
Tiffany’s phone calls after a while turned from her problems with boyfriends to hard life problems, couch surfing, sleeping in a car etc… She was often drunk and weepy and other times angry (maybe drunk).
I told her every time that I had no way to help her from down here, I had no cash etc. but that she was welcome to come home anytime. She refused citing her and Jennifer’s not getting along and I told her “then come home and stay with Grandma” (My mother) and she would somehow discount that as a possibility. Often during those calls she would end up getting really angry because I’d say “well I don’t know what to do for you then”.
In between these calls about couch surfing she would call to give me advice… Really.
I think she came down to Ventura once maybe twice during this time to visit but I’m not all that sure, she came down here several times that I didn’t even know about and at least once showed up at the shop unexpectedly and left for home stealthy as she snuck up.
She called angry more than once in here that we would not come up to Sacramento to visit… “You don’t care about me!” … I explained that the logistics of getting up there with 2 kids a toddler and a baby on no money in a worn out car were beyond our means, basically just pissed her off more.
I learned along the way here (from my brother I think) that Tiffany had dropped out of college and that she was working at Hooters…
Wasn’t long that Tiffany started calling me about getting into the Hooters Calendar and wanted me to shoot a portfolio for her… Neat… I told her Fine if she came down I’d do a shoot to help get her started… I’m sure I mentioned that it was an iffy career choice, but I didn’t hammer on her like I thought she needed… No point.
Our first real fight on the phone was over this: She was coming down to visit and during this visit she wanted to take Evan and Zoë to Magic Mountain just her and them, I said no… This was the first time I got the rant that I had to “Respect her because she was an adult now”… The fight was spirited but cooled off… I don’t think she even came down here as she’s planned. This incident and fight came up between us later more than once.
Things here at home were tough, the economy was shit, I was juggling a lot of plates at once in order to bring in cash, we moved because 4 kids in a small 2 bedroom wasn’t working well (My original thought was we wouldn’t be there long, I’d get another house but y’all know what happened in ‘07~’08).
Tiffany and I talked on the phone often but I had begun to actively avoid answering the phone when she called… Whatever it was she was calling about was always an ordeal.
Her relationship problems were becoming a recurring nightmare, I met HIM – We are having these problems – He abused me, we’re done… Over and over. She would go into far more detail than I wanted to hear but still, as her “only sane parent” I listened and gave her my best advice… Over and over… Tiffany began to call just to yell at me for avoiding her calls as well. She would also call, clearly intoxicated and would deny it later.
This got us all the way to late 2009
Finances were getting really tough, my day job was slow and everything else was slow as well. Jennifer had to get a job and things were very hectic and getting harder. I had not been feeling well, pretty stressed and run down at the end of September I has developed a UTC and then a kidney infection, I pretty much ignored it for a while but then it escalated fast to urinating blood and I was extremely sick, I went to the hospital where I was given antibiotics and those made me even sicker and the pain was verging on excruciating. Jennifer and I were having problems already (I don’t even know exactly what all) and this pushed me over the edge and so I did the next indicated thing… Pushed Jennifer over the edge and proceeded to head out in order to kill myself.
The date was (…) and I was completely unhinged I drove for a while, bought a ½ pint of gin and stuck it in the glove box of the car… My intention was to drink it then slam the car into something like the side of Mugu Rock. But first I stopped out in front of Lincoln School and called the one person I trusted to at the very least to have Evan and Zoë’s best interests at heart… Tiffany, the kid I’d fought in the trenches with back in ’03.
I got her on the phone and it was late, she immediately asked what was wrong so I told her. I said that I was very ill, told her about the kidney infection (I really thought it was going to kill me anyway), I told her about Jennifer and I having problems… I told her “I was not going to make it, and that I needed her to take care of some things for me”.
Her reaction was not at all anything I would have expected, she started screaming at me, really screaming. I’m paraphrasing but it went something like this: “You motherfucker, God damn you, Fuck you, I raised your fucking kids, Fuck you, Fuck Jenn, Fuck, Fuck and…”
When she stopped screaming she clamed down and started telling me to throw Jenn out and she would come home and help me with the kids, etc…
I told her no I couldn’t take anymore and I was on my way out (I really meant it, I was not okay at all at the time) She calmly said “Okay what do you want”.
I told her where to find my personal papers and “in the event of my death” letters I had. I gave her instructions to take down my website and close out my web accounts, I told her to write down the one for all passwords and told her where those accounts were.
She was crying, I was crying I told her I was so sorry and that I loved her and she told me she loved me and begged me to re-consider. (I found out later she got on the phone to Jennifer right after this call)
Well, I couldn’t quite bring myself to drink the gin and clearly I didn’t commit suicide… But I was definitely cracked in the head for a few days and I even got sicker from the kidney infection… It took a while but I came to me senses, about a lot of things.
Jennifer had left, I was very physically sick and had a lot of stuff to get in order no matter what came next. At this time Lisa had been clean for a while and fairly stable; she took Even and Zoë so I could get my shit together.
I was at home on the couch after being in the emergency room again when Kevin Course, one of my very long time acquaintances that Tiffany knew as well showed up, Tiffany had called and sicked him on me because I was suicidal. I told him I’d gotten over it and I just had a lot of wreckage to clean up.
Jennifer came home shortly after this, Even and Zoë stayed with Lisa for a while (perhaps 4 weeks?)
Tiffany began calling me constantly, and we talked, even though I believed Tiffany was a head case and a pain in the ass I believed her heart was in the right place and she cared. One thing though was she was extremely upset with me for “Letting Even and Zoë go to mom” She ticked off everything that was ever wrong with her mother and she was adamant that I get them home immediately. I tried to explain that for one her mother was fairly stable and had been clean for a while and she said “Like that’s going to last”. For the whole time they stayed at Lisa’s Tiffany ragged on me for it.
Tiffany was also very upset that I had come so close to the edge and she started to really get on me about that, there was stuff going on with me, stuff going on with Jennifer and me as well… I’m sure I was pretty candid with Tiffany and I know I was very apologetic about upsetting her so badly that night… She said a lot of things that got on my nerves but I let it be, some of it I even had considered as truth, however, Tiffany was always critical of Jennifer and she became even more so now and that I did not let slide… These discussions on the phone between us got sideways over that and she also got worked up over Jennifer and her mother not being okay for Evan and Zoë.
I was still pretty ill from the kidney infection and was on a ton of Cipro and another drug (anti viral I think) for at least a month and I was just all around not physically well, I was also still pretty mentally ill so I took off of work for more than a month.
One thing that happened during this time that needs to be noted:
Jennifer had a genital herpes outbreak and to the best of her knowledge that had never happened before (apparently it can be dormant for years before showing up I had never had an outbreak before either but about 2 months later I did as well).
I do not specifically remember if I mentioned this to Tiffany but I may very well have and that would make something she later said in the pretext call make some kind of sense.
Right on the tail end of all this some pretty strange things happened some concerning phone calls and texts to Jennifer and I.
And then a while later some crazy internet drama involving a website I had been active on in the past, one of the things that got cut due to the extreme money problems was our internet service at home and apparently while I was off someone had my account and a sock puppet account interacting and that ended in the fake person dying from a fake cancer. None of my theories of how and who quite fit… Tiffany was actually the one that brought it to my attention… But who cares? It’s internet drama (it didn’t even cross my mind that I had given Tiffany access to EVERYTHING I had on the internet just a few months before this).
(I think this belongs here in time) Tiffany came down to visit and actually showed up, she came by the apartment and spent about 20~30 minutes, she made plans with Jennifer and told the kids she was coming back to make dinner… She spent some time talking on the phone with someone and left promising to come back that evening. The next time I heard from her she was back in Sacramento, I laid into her and she blamed us for letting Molly and “that little fucker I don’t even know” for ruining the visit… This conversation didn’t end well.
(And I think this belongs here) Tiffany called and wanted everyone to get together up at my parents house, she was bringing a boyfriend (Insert me rolling eyes… I was getting pretty sick of Tiffany’s SOS boyfriend, only the name changed, turns out it was Vinnie Giesel). My reaction to the whole thing didn’t make her very happy… Of course I got a call and was read the riot act… And of course Vinnie didn’t last any longer that all the others.
Life went on at home however in the Summer of 2010 Zoë started having problems, When I first found out that she had cuts it was right on the heels of finding out that the kid across the way, Ryan, was cutting himself and I was like WTF are you doing Zoë, I was upset about it and it didn’t go over well, I really didn’t know how to handle it.
The way this came about was Jennifer found razor blades in Zoë’s stuff, it came about that Evan told Jennifer Zoë was cutting and when Jennifer confronted Zoë, trying to get a look at her arms Zoë clocked Jennifer in the head… Fuck, not good (I assumed the cutting was just stupid shit right up until she wound up getting hauled away from school by a CERT team a year and change later).
I knew this was going to blow up so I actually sat down and called Tiffany in order to tell her what was going on with her sister so she’d hear it from me first and not get pissed… She got pissed anyway and wanted to talk to Zoë so I put her on the phone with her.
When Zoë came back down stairs and gave me the phone back Tiffany started in on me telling me exactly what I needed to do… And it wasn’t long before it tuned into a pretty ugly fight between her and I. She was telling me she knew what she was talking about and I had to listen… She really started to rant and I ended up telling her she didn’t know jack shit I needed to hear about my crazy kid from my other crazy kid… She went ballistic so I hung up on her.
(I’m not sure but I think this might actually have been the opening shot in the giant fight)
Giant Fight 24 November 2011? (sort of confirmed on Facebook… Tiffany sanitized the post though).
Tiffany’s and my telephone conversations became contentious and most of them ended in one or the other of us hanging up however some calls were innocuous as ever. She continued to make plans to come down and visit (telling everyone including Evan and Zoe) but wouldn’t show up. Some of our telephone fights were sparked by this, my view that she kept letting down her brothers and sisters and her responses were often to attack me for being such a lousy father and leaving the three of them suffer her mother’s insanity.
Her calls continued, Boyfriends problems, ragging on me about Even and Zoe and who knows what all.
At some point I was looking at Tiffany’s Facebook Wall (I’m not sure if something she said popped up or what). I don’t remember what it was she posted but I found it offensive (And incredibly stupid) as well as I was bothered because it was stuff Even and Zoe could easily see. I said something confrontational (and probably very embarrassing to her) about it and it wasn’t long before she called me in a rage.
I don’t know if it was a day, two or three days but we went toe to toe (over the phone) and it was ugly. The final outcome was me telling her “we never have to speak again” change her last name because I didn’t want to be associated with her and to lose my fucking phone number.